The Window at Night
By Jennifer Grotz
Eyes wide like an owl’s, an aspirin-pale face
foretells in lamplight how it accumulates age.
Somewhat masked, somewhat naked, there’s no way
to know what others see when looking at it.
All five of the body’s senses crowd
on this small planet a weather of hair surrounds.
My face is not a democracy — the eyes are tyrants
and the ears are radical dissenters.
In the conversations of eyebrows, mine are whispers.
Like the window at night, the face reflects too,
uncertain how to change when greeting itself
(and is it not cruel when another’s face
won’t reflect acknowledgment of you?).
My mother, my father, and my brother are found
in the blurring of feature and expression.
Cynicism finds no purchase here;
the same cannot be said for sadness
(and look deeper — anger hides in the jaw).
And while the nose quietly broods
like an actor rehearsing his soliloquy,
the empty page of the forehead, when I raise my brows,
fills suddenly with questions.
Rochester-based poet, critic and literary translator JENNIFER GROTZ will read from her work at 2 p.m. today in the auditorium of Buffalo State College’s Burchfield Penney Art Center. She is the author of two collections of poetry, “The Needle” (2011) and “Cusp” (2003), both published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.